Irish television presenter Brendan Courtney has spoken about the bullying he suffered at school for being gay.

The Off The Rails presenter told the Sun: “It was physical and verbal because I was obviously gay.

“But I’m a very forceful person and I just stopped going to school. Then I was caught and I said, ‘Sort them out or I’m not going back in’. I changed schools and I was really popular at the new one, I kind of reinvented myself.”

Courtney, 36, is supporting Console, a charity for people bereaved through suicide.

He was a friend of Alexander McQueen, who committed suicide earlier this year, while he also suffered the death of a school friend who was under exam pressure.

Of his own experiences of growing up gay, he said: “There’s a lot of sexual depression and frustration and guilt.

“I grew up in Tallaght and felt there was nowhere to turn, even though I was in the city.

“The fear of telling people something as massive as that is kind of like if you’re 14 and telling someone you’re pregnant.

“It’s a similar kind of fear, thinking the family might reject you.”